A tourist from Illinois was killed and her young son and nephew were injured when high winds contributed to them hitting a bridge in the Florida Keys during a parasailing ride, officials said.
Supraja Alaparthi, 33, was killed, and her son, Sriakshith Alaparthi, 10, and her nephew, Vishant Sadda, 9, were injured on Monday after strong winds slammed them into Seven Mile Bridge west of Marathon, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials told NBC South Florida.
“Severe weather is a factor with this boating accident,” the FWC wrote in an incident report.
A strong gust of wind "pegged" the parasail, meaning the chute was being controlled by the wind and not by the boat operator, according to the report. The boat's captain then cut the line tethered to the three parasailers and they dropped from an unknown height and were dragged through the water by the inflated parasail before colliding with the bridge, according to the report.
A good Samaritan was the first to arrive on the scene and took the three parasailers aboard his boat and brought them to a nearby marina to be attended to by emergency personnel, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Supraja Alaparthi, who was visiting on vacation from Schaumburg, Illinois, with her family, was declared dead at the scene. Vishant Sadda was taken to a Miami hospital for additional treatment, and Sriakshith Alaparthi had minimal injuries, according to NBC South Florida.
“Our condolences are with the family and loved ones of those affected by Monday’s accident,” Capt. Jason Ingram, Coast Guard Sector Key West commander, said in a statement. “This was a tragedy for a family seeking to enjoy their visit to the Florida Keys."
The parasail flight was from a passenger vessel that had been inspected by the Coast Guard, and the service is investigating the cause of the incident.
An employee of Light House Parasail in Marathon, which was the operator used by the family, told NBC South Florida the company is “devastated” and is cooperating with the investigation.